Pune: Lucky fingers help rescue missing boy from water tank

The story of how the quick-wittedness of a nine-year-old boy, who was reported missing helped him get spotted inside a 10-feet deep empty water tank

“We are really thankful to The Almighty to have given us our son back. It’s a second life,” say the parents of nine-year-old Faiyaaz Imitiyaaz Muthani, who was rescued on the morning of March 10 from an empty water tank in Bhawani Peth. Three days after he was reported missing by his parents, the credit for the timely rescue went to his nimble fingers, which he stuck out through the tank’s tap. A senior student from a nearby school, Rakib Miraj Sayeed (14), spotted the fingers and raised a cry. What got the trapped boy out of the tank was Sayeed’s alertness and the resourcefulness of the school staff.

Rakib Miraj Sayeed (right) and Vittobha Padir rescued Muthani from the tank
Rakib Miraj Sayeed (right) and Vittobha Padir rescued Muthani from the tank

Muthani alleges that he was pushed into the tank, owned by a gym called Shree Veer Gogadeo Pratisthan Fitness Centre.

Faiyaaz Imitiyaaz Muthani with his parents; the tank on top of a public toilet belongs to a neighbouring gym. His parents had registered a missing complaint
Faiyaaz Imitiyaaz Muthani with his parents; the tank on top of a public toilet belongs to a neighbouring gym. His parents had registered a missing complaint

A resident of Bhawani Peth, Muthani left home to play with his friends on the evening of March 7. His mother Sultana, who works as a cook, lodged a case of kidnapping early next morning, when her son failed to return home. That Muthani was trapped in a 10,000-litre water tank just 30 feet away from their residence was something she had not imagined. As it turned out, Muthani, a Std IV student of BT Shahani Navin Hind High School, fell into the tank after a foiled attempt to catch a bird. He had clambered onto the roof of a public toilet to access a neighbouring tree, but, he claimed, he was pushed into the tank placed on the roof of the toilet, by an unidentified man. “I tried to climb out but the tank was more than 10 feet deep. I was afraid. I started sucking my thumb and went to sleep. At around 5.30 am [on March 8], I woke up when I heard the azan,” recounted Muthani. His attempts to scream for help failed. At one point, Muthani said, he even tried shifting all his weight to one side of the tank, to make it topple. “I could hear the school bell ringing and I screamed but it was useless. I started poking my fingers out from the pipe so that someone would see me,” he said.

Luckily, the public toilet shares its wall with Maharshi Harkadash Vidya Mandir. Sayeed, a Std VII student of the school, was cleaning the classroom duster in the school’s corridor after the morning assembly at 8 am on March 10. This is when he noticed fingers popping out of the tap of the adjacent tank. Sayeed brought this to the attention of his teacher Vittobha Padir. Padir said, “We prepared a human pyramid to reach him.” As a first rescue measure, he threw in a bottle of water for the thirsty boy. By this time, Muthani had indicated where his family stayed and word was sent to them. Finally, Padir managed to yank him out.

Inspector Raghunath Jadhav of Khadak police station, said, “We have summoned the gym owners and asked them to remove the tank. We are also probing who pushed the boy inside the tank.”

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